With A Heavy Heart I leave Podcasting…

So I’m sitting here and I’m struggling. No big deal really since struggle is my middle name. Actually my middle name is… oh, who cares. You see, the problem, the reason I’m struggling is because I am a person that has always ripped his life apart and rebuilt it from the burning ashes of my former existence. It has always worked for me in the past, but that was way back when I didn’t have two kids, two mortgages, two jobs, etc.

That was back when all I had to be responsible for was myself.

Now, through the years of kids, mortgages, jobs, etc I have had the good fortune of having my life ripped apart for me. No choice in the matter meant I could just say, “Such is Karma.” I had always landed on my feet before and I never had any doubt I would again. Karma was kind and the life that rose from the ashes was always exactly as it should be.

But now I find myself in a place that Karma doesn’t want to touch. I think I played all my Get Out Of Jail Free cards. I am left to do the dirty work all by my lonesome. And there be dirty work that needs doing.

What is that dirty work? I need to walk away from podcasting. And, since I just launched my latest podcast novel, it’s a pretty shitty time to walk away. I know there will be many people upset by this and I know that some negative mojo will be flung my way. But such is the life of a struggling writer. I do apologize for leaving Metal and Ash unfinished (the podcast at least. Novel is available!), but the reality is that I don’t know when it could get finished. Time and life have not been kind lately and I need to take a few hundred steps back and reinvent my writing career.

I started podcasting to build awareness of my novel, DEAD MECH, and grow an audience and maybe attract publishers. I did those things and I am forever grateful. But as I have said from day one of the podcast, I have approached writing as a business. And, honestly? Business ain’t so good.

Sure, I have an average of about 1,300 to 2,000 podcast downloads a week, but lately that hasn’t translated into sales. It used to, way back when. It used to for a lot of people. But that was before, or at least right at the beginning, of ebooks. Ebooks changed the podcasting landscape.

Podcasting was once the best way to get your novel out to an audience electronically. Sure, you could post it online or blog it, but it didn’t have the new fangled smell that podcasting did. The iPod was all the rage and iTunes made it so easy for all parties to participate in something we thought was going to be the next wave of media. New Media, it was called.

Well, to quote Stephen King’s Dark Tower series, “The world has moved on”.

IPods aren’t so special anymore, and who has time to listen to 20+ hours of a free novel. I know, I know, Audible.com (an Amazon company) has been growing and growing. But that’s because people are paying for that content. If you pay for something you are certainly going to take the time to listen to it! Not so much for free podcasts. I know that of those 1,300 to 2,000 downloads each week only a very small percentage are being listened to.

At least right away.

And here is the rub: I podcast as promotion and marketing for my writing. If no one is listening, at least when I need them to be, then all of that promotion and marketing is nothing but empty air. I’ve tested it, just in case you are wondering how I know what I know. I have been plugging my YA novel, Little Dead Man. If I were to even get a 1% return on the 1,300 downloads each week then I should be selling 13 copies a week. I am not. Not even close to that. I’ve also been testing it by asking folks to follow me on Twitter and to like my Facebook page. Sure, not everyone is into the Twitter or the Facebook. But if we go with the 1% rule again? 13 a week. And still not happening.

That means that the hours and hours of time I put into my podcast aren’t doing me any good except for entertaining some folks for free. And as much as I’d like to entertain folks, I just can’t do it for free any more. You may ask what it costs me? Time. A huge amount of time. And stress. It is not relaxing having to record and then wait for the episodes to be produced and then launch them and then watch the downloads happen…and no sales to go with them. I can’t waste that time any longer. I have to use it efficiently and wisely because time is money. Especially for a writer. Just the time I’m using to write this podcasting obituary is killing me. I need to be editing a manuscript, working on my next novel, and writing some short stories for submission. The time pressure is going to drive me to drink and we’ve all seen that tale play out before.

So what am I going to do? I’m going to write. I’m going to write and write and write.

That’s what writers do.

I am going to work on new novels, and these will be in many genres, not just scifi or horror. I am going to go back to writing short fiction. Since I won’t be podcasting anymore I will need to get my name back out there. Getting published in the pro magazines is one way to do that. I’m at a point in my career that I know I can put out a good body of short fiction that will get published. Gotta expose myself! Well…you know what I mean.

It’s kind of funny in a way. After all the New Media hype, and the advent of social media, I find that the old way of being a writer and doing things is what feels right to me. I’m going to write, I’m going to submit, I’m going to publish, and I’m going to wait. And while I wait I’m going to write, I’m going to submit, and I’m going to publish. I’ll still be on Twitter and Facebook so don’t worry, I’m not dropping off the face of the planet or anything. There will be plenty of Jake Bible Fiction for all! Just on the page only.

And now for the ten million pound elephant in the room…

I know I’m going to catch shit for this. I know I am going to be raked over the coals and there will be some that will hate me for this. I know at one point I said I’d podcast all of my fiction for free FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE! Guess what? Life has a way of making one eat their words. Life is currently shoving my words down my throat. And laughing while doing said shoving.

So feel free to hate me, to lambast me, to smear my name across the social media world. Do what you feel you have to. I’ll do what I feel I have to.

And what I feel I have to do is gear down and focus on my writing. Not on podcasting.

I hope you can forgive me. I hope you can find it in your heart to not rip me a new one. Trust me I’ve already torn myself apart just figuring all of this out.

I hope y’all can still support my work. I have TONS of great ideas just waiting to be put to paper. And I know you won’t be disappointed if you stick with me!

So, in reference to podcasting I bid you farewell. And for my writing I greet you warmly!

Cheers,

Jake

March 2012

Posted on March 7, 2013, in Dead Mech Podcast, Metal and Ash, The Americans Podcast, What's Up.... and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 29 Comments.

  1. I know how you feel. I made the same realization last year. Podcasting is rewarding, but I set out to be a writer, not a podcaster, and I had to step back to make more time for writing. I was lucky and had a partner to continue our ongoing podcast so it wasn’t abandoned.
    I think you expressed wonderfully how times change and life moves on. Good luck as you move forward and, of course, you can always come back to podcasting if the time and project is right. At least, that’s what I tell myself.

  2. It’s a tough call, but you’ve got to play it the want you’ve got to play it. Maybe there will be a time when podcasting makes sense again, and maybe not. I hope you will at least consider making podcastable ads, I’m sure your podcast contacts will be happy to continue spreading the news for your work.

  3. Dude, you gotta do what you gotta do. I love your stuff, which is why I’m one of the people that has purchased it. As a consumer, I love it when I get to get a podcast novel for free. Look at guys like you, Sigler, Jeremy Robinson, Mike Bennett, Mark Nemcoff…these are all guys that started doing free podcasts and these are all people that I automatically buy whatever they put out because I like what they (and you) write. I absolutely love the Apex trilogy, and when I saw Metal and Ash was available for sale for my Kindle, I didn’t even hesitate. I picked up The Man with No Face, and when I’m done with that I’m grabbing Little Dead Man. I am married with 4 small kids, so I know what it’s like to have life throw curveballs at you. I was in London recently and was hanging with Mike Bennett and we had a long conversation about the very thing you are talking about here. Putting out free content and hoping it turns over into sales and just not seeing the numbers come in. It has to be incredibly frustrating. I am working on doing a podcast novel myself, and I’m having trouble just finding the time to sit down and write. Thankfully I’m a sound designer, so the recording and editing of it is the easy part for me. I think for you, the only way to keep putting out free podcast content would be to have someone volunteer to record the book for you, which will be hard to find considering the amount of time involved.

    Just know that I will always be a consumer for you.

  4. Thank You for the explanation. Sometimes we the consumer forget that our favorite whatever is still “well” human. They have the same troubles and trials the we do. We think that because we plop down our “99 cents” that we are entitled to “well” everything. My hope is that at some point in the future you can podcast your other books, but if not i will still enjoy the books

  5. How interesting! I’ve only found this because another podcaster (@knightwise) put a link to this up in Twitter. :) Funny how times have changed…I remember when podcasting was the buzz word…and now…well…who has the time to listen, let alone help people monetise their work? Having read this now, I’m actually going to search on Amazon for some of this reading material…I love reading, love finding new authors. Might I suggest looking into Goodreads? Interesting article on NYT the other week about how authors/publishers are finding new markets through there.

  6. Well said, Jake. You have so much to say, to write, to share – regardless of the form of the expression!

  7. brighteyeddyer

    Just. Keep. Writing.

  8. good luck with all your writing . I have enjoyed listening to your podcasts while I work on nightshift. hope all goes well for you. will keep an eye out for your work. cheers for the hours of enjoyment and ignore any haters. f*$k f*$k sh!t f*$k! :-)

  9. Totally understandable brother. Optimize and find your new/modified/streamlined path my friend. I for one support you and totally empathize.

  10. I agree with the general tone in these comments, it’s your life and your career and you’ve got to do what’s best for yourself and your family. There simply is no single business model to fit all anymore and as with most things, that has a good and bad side.

    Anyway, good luck and there’s still a place in my wallet if you ever get the time to write those next Stark stories.

  11. Thank you everyone! I have heard a lot of support in the last 24 hours and it has meant a ton to me. I may have to post about it! ;)

  12. Thanks Jake. One question, can you consider putting the books out as audiobooks as well. I won the contest of a lifetime so I get the dead tree version, and I always buy an ebook version of your stuff, however the place I find that I consume your work is in the car driving. I can’t safely do that unless it’s audio. I’ll gladly pay for it in that format, even as a premium a 3rd time to support you, however just as your time is at a premium so is mine, I’d hate to lose my ability to consume what you create simply because I run out of time and the method I’ve consumed it in goes away.

    Either way I will continue to buy the e-book and add the dead tree editions to my shelves in the hopes that I’ll get to them someday, but I’ve got another kid on the way in 11 days and thus my hours to sit and actually read are even tighter where as commute times have always been “reading” time for me.

  13. like Digital Wrangler said, why don’t you just release the rest,as an audiobook on Itunes or Audible?

    • That would still mean recording which is the huge time suck. Right now I will be focusing on writing and not doing any recording. Sorry.

      • Well then good luck man, I know some Indy authors who have had a situation such as the one you have now and they’ve had a bad time after pulling the podcast. But Im sure you’ll do fine. Good Luck man

  14. You’ll always have my sword (srsly, give it back) and my $$$ and man love.

  15. Hey, Jake. This is Abbie from the Cowry Catcher’s podcast. I just wanted to say that I empathize and I wish you well. I’ve produced 7 books as podcasts, 8 if you count the short story collection. Four of those were fullcast (literally 10X as much work as the solo reads), and I’ve got one more coming to complete the Cowry Catchers series. After each one book, I feel as though I cannot possibly do another. It usually takes me a few months to get back in front of the mic. This is not to say that you’ll feel that way, but in a year or two, you may find yourself in the mood again. Or you may not.

    I have known for a while that one viable model is to the give away the primary content and sell audio short stories as premium content. However, this takes 4-10X as much work as writing and releasing the same content in text. Furthermore, people are more willing to pay for text. And it’s less stressful to produce. This was not true three years ago, but it’s true now.

    The changes in publishing are definitely affecting podcasting. Audio is one of the fastest growing segments in publishing. I think that, for many people now, the audio book is the “real” book. Previously, the podcast was a novelty item, and people were interested in purchasing the “real book” if they enjoyed the podcast. For audiophiles, however, the podcast is just an audiobook, which is the “real book.” It’s the only version they want. Why should they pay for an ebook or paper book that they don’t even want?

    The same thing happened when ebooks first appeared. At the beginning, you could sell a lot of paper books by giving away the ebook. The ebook was a novelty item, and if people liked it, they wanted to own the “real book” – the paper book. But now, for many people, the ebook *is* the real book, and you won’t sell much of anything if you give away all your ebooks.

    Podcasting hamstrings you when it comes to selling the audio, as well. Audible is (unfortunately) the only effective distributor right now in spite of its semi-crappy contract (7 years?!!!) and you can’t sell the audio if you’re podcasting it. So another potential market is eliminated by the podcast.

    I still think that podcasting is a great way to get noticed. It does *not* have a low bar to entry, no matter what some people say. Time-wise, it’s a gigantic bar to clear, and most authors just won’t do it. So you rise above the crowd when you podcast. However, once you’ve podcast 3 or 6 or 10 books, you’ve done that thing. The people who were going to see you via that route have seen you and will continue to see you.

    Unfortunately, for most of them, you will fall into the category of “good enough to enjoy for free, but not good enough for paid.” At some point, you cut those people lose and move on. And maybe you podcast a novel now and then, but I don’t think it’s necessarily wise to continue to podcast every single book. I think that it’s wise to have every book available in an audio format, but you can contract that out. There are, of course, other things you can do with a podcast – like just talk to your fans. Author chat podcasts are, perhaps, underrated as a means of bonding with your audience.

    Anyway, I don’t know if any of that was helpful. I wish you well. Good luck.

  16. Christopher Rennu

    Thanks for your honesty. I wish you would finish your podcast. I loved your style, and hope you return to us with more great stories. Good Luck! I’ll still buy your books (as money becomes available!)

  17. Wow, I’m really going to miss you swearing in my earbuds. I’m glad I bought Metal and Ash so I don’t miss the end of the book. I really hope you don’t do a complete podfade, because I’m shit at actually reading people’s blogs – though I’m trying to get better at it. Please whisper sweet nothings in our ears once in a while, even if it’s to just give a tantalizing taste of your next novel.

  18. I can’t say it’s not sad to see you go (especially since I just relistened to Dead Mech and the Americans in the last couple weeks) but I understand completely. Keep up the great work sir, and whatever is happening, remember that you’re not truly alone, you’ve still got a legion of Deaders out here to help you along the way.

  19. Hi Jake, while I have not been as prolific as your good self, I made the same decision. Walk away, regroup, and come back stronger.
    Stay Alive, my good man.
    Neil Colquhoun

  20. I hate to hear that you are quitting the podcast but can totally understand. I don’t have much time to read either but do love listening while I work all day. I have not heard any of your work completely. Seems like I just find the scraps. But I always enjoy them anyway. I don’t twitter and facebook annoys me. I think I’ll being buying copies of your books and hoping for a time that I can read them, I usually can’t put a good book down tell it’s done which is a problem when I am really busy. I also would have gladly paid for the podcasts. I wish you good luck and hope someday your work is available for sale in an audio format. I already proudly support NoSleep, Were Alive and soon Tales to Terrify although I worry it may stop with the passing or the great Larry Santoro.

    • Yeah, it was a hard decision, but the best one to make for my career. I’ve been able to transition into full time writing and now have over a dozen novels out. You can also hear many of them in audiobook form! Feel free to check them out here
      Cheers!

      • I just purchased Dead Mech from audible and next will be Z Burbia and whatever else I can find. I had not realized there were three versions of Z Burbia out. You should consider a donation button. People who like your work and have some means are going to wish to help free up your financial concerns so that you are freed up to do what they enjoy. The issue I had been having was paying $20 for an audio book that I could buy the paper back much cheaper. Then I read your “I’m quitting your cheap asses” post and thought about the fact that I was paying a reader and a server as well. I still doubt that your cut is any where close to half, which chaps my ass too. I am not a writer so my grammar…… Please consider the donation link. I would have rather paid you directly and heard your reading then where we are at now. And I think many would feel that way if they knew the options. Would you please consider selling what podcasts you actually made yourself on this site? I’m not asking you to do anymore podcasts. I’m just saying I would love to hear the author read his own work from the vault so to speak. I have to go. Sigler is one I have never sent money too and I love his work. Please consider selling us the audio work you have already done. Even incomplete. The author adds so much to the story that just any reader cannot!

      • Thank you for the suggestions!

        Unfortunately, due to licensing, I cannot release any of my works that I have recorded without violating terms with ACX (Audible). But, to be honest, even if I could release them I wouldn’t due to the immense amount of work it would be to set up the infrastructure on my website to allow for purchasable downloads. I am just no longer in the publishing/production biz anymore and am strictly focused on writing, writing, writing.

        Now, as for a donation button, I had one up for the majority of my career and only received a couple donations here and there. Since I make a living as a writer, I feel I would rather have my readers/fans purchase one of my novels instead. And, for those that have purchased all of my works, but still want to give, I suggest purchasing an ebook or paperback and giving it as a gift to someone that may enjoy it. Spread the Jake Bible Fiction love! As a professional, I feel way more comfortable with that idea than just accepting free money.

        And, on a side note, I just want to be clear that the quote you put in your comment is your poetic license and not an actual quote from me. I certainly wouldn’t call my fans and readers “cheap asses”. Just wanted to clarify there. ;) [I know you put the quote in as a tongue in cheek commentary on the tone of my post. It's all good.]

        Finally, a HUGE thank you for taking the time to comment and for taking the time to care. I appreciate it! Keep reading/listening/absorbing my stuff into your brainpan. And be ready for even more because my release schedule will not slow down any time soon!

        Cheers,
        Jake

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